Saturday, December 18, 2010

A trip down memory lane

Haley Toyota Certified Center GM Bill Simmons reflects on his life in the car business.

Reprinted with permission from a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and writer Jon Sealy.

Bill Simmons, General Manager Haley Certified Center

Last month the Richmond Drives crew wheeled over to Haley Toyota Certified Center and met with Bill Simmons, the general manager. He and I sat down in his office to discuss his history in the automotive business, which involved a recent cool twist involving Simmons’ former boss.

Let’s start with your first car.

My first car was a ’72 Chevy Camaro. Mine was a 6-cylinder. My older brother had a Z-28, but when it was my turn my dad had learned his lesson about getting teenagers hot rods. When it came time for me to drive, he thought maybe a hot rod isn’t the best thing. I got the 6-cylinder version of the Camaro. I kept it a long, long time until it finally wouldn’t go anymore.

How did you get into the car business?

I got into the business in September 1978. I was working the night shift in a grocery store. A friend that I went to high school with, his dad was used car manager for a local dealership. On my day off, he’d pay me to drive cars to the auction in Fredericksburg for him, which exposed me to the business. I enjoyed it and here we are today, talking 32 years later.

I started selling cars at Lawrence Dodge on Broad Street. I wanted to work closer to home and for an import dealership, so I went to work for what was then Clover Toyota Mazda, and is now the Haley Toyota Certified Center. I then moved up to finance manager at Dick Strauss Ford. I spent 16 years working for Mr. Strauss — he was my mentor in the car business. I learned an awful lot from him. He told me a long time ago, "Bill, the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary," and that’s my credo. I hope I can go out with the respect that Mr. Strauss went out with when he decided to retire. He wasn’t just our boss, he was our friend and mentor.
In 2005, Haley approached me to manage their Certified Preowned dealership. We worked out a deal and I came to work for them. Here I am managing the dealership I worked at in the early ’80s. Here’s a cool twist: The former owner is a service customer. He drives a Prius and has his car serviced here. When he saw me in his former office, it made for some fun conversation and a trip down memory lane.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love to golf — I’m a member of Stonehenge country club — and I like to spend time with my family. I’m active in local civics events. This year, for example, the employees of the dealership and me have participated in raising funds for the M.D.A., United Way and the Susan Komen Foundation. We are currently selling Christmas trees here on the lot with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Chesterfield Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program.

What’s new at the dealership? Anything coming up?

We’re offering some great financing programs. Overall, traditionally used car prices are soft at the auctions at this time of year. We can buy them a little less expensive and we pass those savings along to the customers. So look for our ads in The Times-Dispatch and on our website,, for some great deals on preowned cars and trucks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tips For Winterizing Your Toyota Vehicle

The Haley Toyota Certified Sales and Service Center is a Toyota factory authorized service facility. They are offering Richmond area Toyota owners tips on winterizing their vehicle.

 The forecast is for the current deep freeze that we are feeling in the Richmond VA area may last a little longer. If you have not had your vehicle winterized yet, you may want to do so soon. The Haley Toyota Certified Sales and Service Center employs Toyota Master trained technicians and has all of the parts necessary to winterize your car. Follow these winterizing tips from the Haley Certified Center:

1 - Check antifreeze. Cooling system failure is the main cause of engine related breakdowns. Follow you manufactures guidelines for a coolant system flush for your vehicle. This repair is normally recommended every two years.
2 - Replace wiper blades. We recommend that you replace you wiper blade inserts twice a year and fill your windshield washer tank with a freeze resisitant solution. Wiper blades wear out more often this time of year from being turned on while ther is still frost on the windows.
3 - Check car battery. If your battery is more than 3 years old , have a technician checck its capacity. Also ask them to check the alternator as well and make sure that the battery cables are corrosion-free.
4 - Check tire pressure - Cold weather causes tire pressure to drop, so it is best to check the pressure when the tires are cool. Set the tire pressure to the specifications in your owners manual. Also, if your car is equipped with tire pressure sensing monitors, you may notice your light on when the cars are the coldest. Typically, after driving a few miles and the tires get warmer, the light should go off. If not, then it is a sign to check your tire pressure.
5 - Check tire tread - Look at the tread depth of your tires. Put a penny head first between the treads. If you can see the top of Abes's hair, it is time to change the tire.
6 - Check the spare tire - Make sure it has proper air pressure, tread depth, and all tire changing equipment is in the vehicle. A spare that has lost some air pressure may also trigger the tire pressure monitor light to come on.
7 - Make sure lights, heater, and defrosters are working properly.
8 - Check rubber hoses and belts for damage. Coolant hoses wear from the inside out, so have one of our technicians check all hoses for cracks..
9 - Have your brake system checked - If you have noot had the system checked in the last six months, be sure to do so soon, If your brakes were borderline acceptable for your most recent state inspection, they are probably ready to be replaced.
10 - Have a winter emergency kit. It is better to play safe than be sorry when preparing for winter driving. Especially in case of a breakdown where you may be stranded. Prepare an emergency kit that fits easily in your trunk. The suggested items to include would be jumper cables, ice scraper, blanket, bottle of water, roadside flares and a flashlight, first aid kit, extra pair of gloves, and maybe some windshield washer fluid.

If you would like for us to check these items for you, we will do so FREE of charge. Please visit the dealerships service department at 8301 Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond. If you have other questions or concerns about preparing your vehicle for winter driving, please call our service department at 804-237-8965. You may also schedule an appointment for us to inspect your vehicle online at our website by visiting

The Haley Toyota Certified Center in conveniently located a 1/2 mile East of the Powhite Parkway. We are only 10 minutes east from the Village of Midlothian, 20 minutes from the Short Pump area, and 1 miles west of the Chippenham Parkway.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Money Saving Auto Repair Coupons

The Haley Toyota Certified Service Center has just released several money saving coupons for Richmond VA Toyota owners. For auto repair in Richmond VA, you need to give the Haley Certified Center a call.

The Haley Toyota Certified Service Center has just published several money saving coupons for local Toyota owners. With the cold harsh temperatures that Richmond is currently experiencing, you may want to take a look at some of these winter related car services. The dealership is currently offering local Toyota owners a FREE Winter Checkup. The checkup includes a cooling system check, battery, battery cables and charging system checkup, as well as a checkup of the windshield wiper blades and washer fluid. Take a look at some of the other special coupons that the dealership os offering this month:

1 - Oil and filter change for Toyota cars and trucks for only $29.95
2 - Only $19.95 for new Toyota wiper blades. Installed free while you wait.
3 - A 84 month Toyota True Start battery for only $84.95. (installation extra)
4 - Tires are on sale with a buy 3 get the 4th for free offer.
5 - Recieve a FREE windshield ice scraper just for stopping by.
6 - A Holiday Super Saver coupon with up to $50.00 off of your car repairs.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for any othese service you may do so at our website. To speak to one of our service advisors directly, please call our toll free number 1-800-950-5289. Our local telephone number is 804-228-4000. So you can call, click, or just stop by and we will service your vehicle promptly. We offer our customers many amenities including:

* Free local shuttle service to home or work
* Free internet wi-fi and business center
* Comfortable waiting area with Direct TV and coffee
* Local pickup and delivery service
* Price match guarantee
* Free VA state inspections

With years of experience, Toyota Master trained technicians, and our onsite parts department, we can handle all of your Toyota service needs. We have been serving the needs of local Toyota owners for over 20 years. We are convenient to get to from any part of town.

10 minutes from the village of Midlothian
20 miniutes from the Short Pump or Glen Allen area
10 minutes from downtown Richmond

We are only 1/2 mile east off of the Powhite Parkway and 1 mile west off of the Chippenham Parkway. Click here for directions to our dealership from your location: ...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Haley Certified Joins PCG Digital Marketing

Haley Certified has chosen PCG Digital Marketing to handle its Internet Marketing and online brand development. The Virginia used Toyota dealership serves all Richmond area auto shoppers and owners.

PCG Digital Marketing welcomes Haley Certified to its family of growing automotive dealerships. The Richmond used Toyota dealership has contracted PCG Digital Marketing to kick-start their online marketing initiatives that will include advanced Search Engine Optimization strategies and managing Social Media activities on Facebook and Twitter.

Haley Certified
As part of their new digital marketing strategy, the Richmond used Toyota dealership will receive the most advanced automotive digital marketing strategies developed by PCG. Enhancing Haley Certified’s online visibility will be accomplished through on-site and off-site SEO strategies, content development and the opportunity to join PCG’s exclusive Automotive Advertising Network (AAN).

The AAN combines PCG Digital Marketing’s proven strategies in Search Engine Optimization, content marketing, social media and blogging to provide dealers with an industry-leading solution for lead generation and direct sales.

Additional PCG services will include blogging, writing and publishing press releases, link building, posting customer reviews, Twitter, Facebook, Google SEO compliance, Analytics, Google Maps, video uploads and more.

The goal of Haley Certified’s new Internet Marketing campaign will be to increase the frequency with which their vehicles appear in local and regional search results and to generate additional traffic and leads for their business.

PCG will also train and mentor Haley Certified’s Internet sales staff to eventually handle these responsibilities on their own, essentially creating an in-house team of Internet Marketing and SEO experts. The team at Haley Certified will receive on-site training from the specialists at PCG Digital Marketing in order to grow and develop their Internet sales team.

To learn more about the Richmond used Toyota dealer Haley Certified, please visit

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Haley Toyota Certified Center Employees Enjoy a Day at The Byrd

 The Haley Toyota Certified Center held its annual employee holiday party at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown.

 The employees of the Haley Toyota Certified Center celebrated the holiday season on Sunday December the 5th at the fabulous Byrd Theatre in Carytown on Sunday. The Richmond used car dealership normally holds a covered dish party for their employees in the showroom each year. But the dealerships General Manager, Bill Simmons, wanted to do something different this year. The dealership wanted to have an event that would also include the family members of the employees. The dealerships employees and their families were treated to a private party at The Byrd Theatre to view the Will Ferrell holiday movie Buddy The Elf. A special surprise for those in attendance was an appearance by Byrd organist, Bob Gulledge, who played Christmas music on the theaters Mighty Wurlitzer organ prior to the movie. The Rudolf Wurlitzer Company, which custom made organs for the leading theatres of the country, installed the organ when the theatre was built in 1928. The Byrd Theatre is both a State and National Historic landmark and will be celebrating its 82nd birthday on Christmas Eve.

 Bill greeted the employees as they arrived at the theatre and presented them with a bag full of treats including gift certificates and candy. The concession stand stand was open for complimentary popcorn and drinks. Once everyone was seated, he and Byrd G.M, Todd Schall-Vess, had a few announcements to make. Bill thanked his staff for the hard work and great job that they have done for the company this year. This is a time of year when the spirit of giving and making memories is everywhere, the employees were acknowledged for their own contributions. He reminded them and asked them to to be proud of the many contributions that they collectively made to local charitable causes throughout the year. The dealership has helped raised money this year for the M.D.A., Susan Komen Foundation, the United Way and and is currently selling Christmas trees to raise money for the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program. Bill mentioned to those in attendance that The Byrd   was the very first movie theater that he remembers coming to as a child and has fond memories of those days. It was the dealerships goal to create a fantastic memory for the employees and their families for years to come. And judging from the excitement exhibited by the staff after the movie was over and everyone was leaving, the dealership definitely achieved that goal. The dealership has posted several photographs of their event on its Facebook page. Please feel free to visit the page and "like" it to become a fan.

 A special guest of the dealership at the party was local artist Daniel Pritchett, who painted the "Byrd Theatre" painting in the lobby. Daniel has set up a website devoted to the sale of prints of the painting, a percentage of which has always gone to the Byrd Theatre. If you would like to view the different sizes of prints that are available please visit his Byrd Prints website.

 The dealership and its employees enjoyed their day at the Byrd. The dealership wishes to thank Byrd G.M, Todd Schall-Vess, and his staff for the great service that they provided. It was a wonderful surprise that the theatre invited Bob Gulledge to play the organ for us prior to the show. If the buzz around the dealership on the day after the event is any indication, there just might be a repeat performance at The Byrd next year.